When we first started brainstorming about what to study this fall, Katherine and I both acknowledged that the best of the best happens when we plan both horizontally (across the curriculum) and vertically (up and down the age span). Our little girls loved the flower fairies but what about the bigger children, even my teenagers? What about the boys? Could this work for everyone? Frankly, it had to work. If I can't do it with everyone, at least a little, I end up abandoning it.
So, we've planned for Serendipity with an eye towards including everyone. In every week's plans, there is a list of books for the older children. As time goes on (we're doing this in real time) I expect we'll add even more, particularly as the children themselves spark ideas. For my teenagers, I've begun to work with MacBeth's Opinion, making some book substitutions and additions as I go. I also enjoyed a very nice conversation with Regina Doman last week and my oldest student, Christian, is reviewing her modern day fairy tale trilogy. At first, the question was raised by my big boys especially, "Why read fairy tales now?"
The answer was because they are part of our cultural heritage the same way that myths are. My boys are huge C. S. Lewis and Tolkein fans. C. S. Lewis commands their utmost respect as a storyteller and a man of God. In the dedication of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lewis tells the world how important he thinks a fairy story is for his own dear godchild:
To Lucy Barfield:
My dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be
Your affectionate Godfather,
- Dedication in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe